Two and a half years ago, when Radek Stepanek  won a tournament in Brisbane, John Alexander asked him more or less “What do you do to be so fit at the end of the career?“, Stepanek answered: “It’s not the end, it’s the beginning“, Alexander commented jeeringly “The beginning of the end“. The 30-year-old Stepanek at the time, was right in some sense because today he clinched his biggest title winning in Washington. Admittedly he won a “500” tournament before (Rotterdam) but needed five wins then, this time six, so I’d consider today’s triumph as a bigger achievement. Stepanek took an advantage of Mardy Fish’s withdrawal – instead of the American No. 1, Stepanek faced in the second round “lucky loser” Wayne Odesnik. The Czech came to Washington with a 4-match losing streak, after winning the championship point fell on the back, afterwards made his famous trademark “the worm” dance. Interesting thing occurred in doubles where Michael Llodra and Nenad Zimonjic won the last two matches after almost identical scoreline, facing a triple match point in both matches (*3:6 in the tie-break) #
Unexpectedly, the first career title in Kitzbuhel, grabbed the 24-year-old Dutchman – Robin Haase , becoming the 8th first-time champion this year. Haase is the first man from the Netherlands to get an ATP trophy since Martin Verkerk won in Amesrfoort seven years ago ##. “It’s an amazing feeling. I’m really happy that I won,” said Haase. “It was one of the goals this year to make it into a semi-final or final, and maybe win it. I was close a few times when I played good but actually lost to good players. To win this match and beat good players this week was really great.” Haase won two matches on Friday (played three sets), first he battled-past F.Lopez in a rain-interrupted match, then ousted in straight sets A.Seppi, Haase’s final opponent – Montanes – was forced to play four sets on Friday. The Brazilian Joao Souza made his second ATP semifinal as a qualifier, previously he did it last year in Santiago playing his first event at the main level.
S: Radek Stepanek d. (1, WC)Gael Monfils 6-4, 6-4
D: (3)M.Llodra/N.Zimonjic d. R.Lindstedt/H.Tecau 6-7(3), 7-6(6), [10-7] – 4 m.p.
Kitzbuhel (250) S: Robin Haase d. Albert Montanes 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 D: (4)D.Bracciali/S.Gonzalez d. F.Ferreiro/A.Sa 7-6(1), 4-6, [11-9]
# Two last wins of the Llodra/Zimonjic pair in Washington: